My 2015 Musings

2015-musings

2015 has been a busy year for Musical Theatre Musings. It saw the start of this blog to at some points reviewing 3/4 shows a week for this blog and other publications. In total I saw 50 shows. 2015 also saw my first outing with the lovely #LDNTheatreBloggers to see Balla Brazil after chatting to many on them on twitter for so long.

In 2015 Musical Theatre Musings has appeared in the Newshopper, on Kerry Ellis Web, Lovebirds Musical website, Cygnet Players website, White Feather Musical website, an interview with the Stagedoor app and much much more.

The end of the year is always a great time to reflect on the year past so here it goes –

Best West End Musical…

One of my two 5* reviews come from this category, partly thanks to the leading lady, Imelda Staunton, it is of course ‘Gypsy‘. ‘Gypsy’ took the West End by storm and my 5 stars were in good company along with The Times, The Guardian, The Express and The Telegraph. I’m looking forward to reliving the production over Christmas when it is broadcast on BBC4.

Best Fringe Musical…
Tommy-Ashley-Birchall

Ashley Birchall as Tommy.

My second 5* review and my favourite show of the year comes from this category and I even ended up on a poster with my star rating. On at The Greenwich Theatre it is ‘Tommy.’ This is a show I went to see having my arm twisted by Mr Musical Theatre Musings as I have to admit I wasn’t a huge fan of the show prior to this production. It is amazing how a piece of theatre can change your opinion and I loved the fresh take on the show. The show ended with the longest standing ovation that I can recall! As an aside ‘Tommy’ was also my most popular review of the year according to the number of visitors to that page.

The fringe had a great year and other noteable mentions were Parade at London Theatre Workshop, Grand Hotel at Southwark Playhouse and Songs For A New World at St James’ Theatre.

 

Best New Musical…
white-feather-review

The White Feather – My 2015 top new musical

Supporting new musicals or indeed any new production is hugely important and my top new musical was ‘White Feather‘ on at the Union Theatre. The show was also nominated for Best New Production of a Musical by Broadway World website. The production tells of those that were executed for cowardice during World War 1, in particular those suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and focuses on the story of one such soldier. I was so impressed with the lead, Abigail Williams that I even mentioned her as a person to watch out for in my interview with Stagedoor App.

Best Dance Show…

My top dance show of 2015 was ‘Top Hat‘ which I saw at the Churchill Theatre. The show is based on the 1935 film of the same name and when the film stars Fred & Ginger you have some smooth shoes to fill. In my review I summed the show up as ‘Beautiful’ – not only was the dancing sublime but the costumes and set were stunning. The set was one of the most impressive touring sets I had seen. The perfect production for pure escapism and all those Strictly Fans out there.

Best Play…
Unearthed Folio Theatre

Unearthed by Folio theatre company – my top play of 2015

My favourite play of the year just went to show that you don’t need to spend thousands to produce a good show. I was invited along to the launch night of Illuminate, a festival at the Studio Space at Wimbledon Theatre and throughout the night we were treated to promos for some of the upcoming shows and one in particular caught my attention, this was ‘Unearthed‘ by Folio Theatre company and they invited me back to review the play. ‘Unearthed’ is a new play which told the story of a codicil to a will, a to-do list that 2 estranged siblings had to carry out in order to inherit their fathers estate. It was sensitively written and yet provided enough laughs to keep the mood from getting to somber. I’ve been invited to review Folio’s next production ‘Reel Life’ so watch this space for more news on them.

 

 

Best Amateur Production…

Those that are regular readers of my blog know that I have a huge passion for amateur theatre. It is a huge hobby of mine and I’m a huge believer of how reviewers can benefit the amateur theatre world (see my article on this topic here). In March I headed to Ilford for a production of ‘Parade,’ my first of two trips to this show in 2015.  This was a first class amateur production where a show I adore was produced exceptionally. Funnily enough I am now rehearsing for this show myself with Bromley Players (plug over).

Best Review/Concert show…
kerry-ellis-louise-dearman

Kerry Ellis & Louise Dearman Live in Concert

Without a doubt my top show of 2015 in this category was Kerry Ellis & Louise Dearman Live in Concert. This was a show I was aware of (and dying to go to) from the launch when I went along Good Friday morning to the launch when Kerry & Louise announced they would be doing a concert together. The show lived up to the hype with Kerry & Louise absolutely smashing a wide range of musical theatre and pop songs….although my favorite section had to be their mickey take of each others leading lady roles.

 

Favourite show I’ve reviewed for another publication…
Tick, tick...BOOM! By SEDOS

Tick, tick…BOOM! By SEDOS

This year I have reviewed for Londontheatre1 and Sardines as well as a guest review spot for Carnstheatrepassion and you can see a full list of productions I have reviewed for them over on my Musings Elsewhere page. My highlight was ‘Tick Tick…Boom‘ by SEDOS at the Bridewell. It was a show I had never seen before but as a big Rent head and therefore a fan of Larson. SEDOS have a great reputation as being one of the premier amateur companies in London and this show did not disappoint.

Blog Highlight of 2015…
Avenue Q tweet seat at the Churchill Theatre

Avenue Q tweet seat at the Churchill Theatre

This is tough as my blog is only a baby blog and it all started in 2015 for me. Obviously starting the blog and getting invites in my own night by theatres and PR companies was wonderful and allowed me to keep the blog going. I think the most fun thing I’ve done with the blog this year was the ‘Avenue Q’ tweet seat at the Churchill Theatre. The tweet seat concept is that you tweet your thoughts throughout the show. The use of phones is of course a big no no in theatres normally so it did fell very strange to begin with but once I got over the technical problems of actually connecting to the internet we had great fun. It was even picked up by a local newspaper, the Newshopper, which featured some of our tweets.

Favourite Theatre of 2015…

This is a tricky one and I’ve decided to choose 2 for different reasons. The first is one of my local theatres, the Churchill Theatre. The reason I have chosen the Churchill is not only does it have great productions on there and loads of leg room but the marketing officer there is keen to engage with bloggers and is more than happy to have myself and fellow bloggers descend for Press Nights. As a result I have been lucky enough to attend press nights for Aladdin, Top Hat, East is East, Avenue Q and more, with more where that came from in 2016.

My second choice of venue for 2015 ties in with what I said earlier about London having a smashing year for Fringe productions. This year I attended 3 productions at Southwark Playhouse – ‘Bat Boy’, ‘Grand Hotel‘ and ‘Xanadu‘ and all 3 productions made the venue look so so different showing just how versatile that space is.

2016…..

I’m already looking forward to 2016 with press nights for ‘Giuselle’ at the Hawth, ‘Let It Be,’ ‘Perfect Murder,’ ‘Blood Brothers,’ ‘Lord of the Flies,’ ‘Jackie,’ ‘American Idiot’ at the Churchill Theatre, ‘Reel Life’ at St James’ Studio and ‘Bar Mitzvah’ Boy at Upstairs at the Gatehouse lined up as well as finally got round to booking myself in to see ‘Curious Incident of the Dog In The Night Time.’ I’m hoping that the blog continues to grow and reach new people. Remember if you want to invite me to review a show you are involved with I would love to hear from you and you could be featuring in my 2016 round up – just email sarah@musicaltheatremusings.co.uk

I’d love to hear from you if you have seen any of the shows I’ve mentioned and see if you agree/disagree with my choices.

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